Rep. King Files Hemp Production and Regulation Bill: HB 3948

We anticipate a substitute filing by Representative King that will substantially change some of the language discussed in this blog.

On March 11, 2021, Rep. Tracy King (D) filed HB 3948 that focuses on the regulation and production of hemp and consumable hemp products in Texas. This bill provides administrative penalties, imposes and authorizes fees, and creates criminal offenses. Additionally, the bill covers higher institutions, permissible THC content, additives, synthetics, and more. Below, we’ve summarized this bill to keep you in-the-know with Texas hemp legislation. The Senate version of this bill is SB 1776. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCRep. King Files Hemp Production and Regulation Bill: HB 3948
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A Recap of the Establishment of the United States Domestic Hemp Production Program

The United States’ hemp industry is a constant work-in-progress; however, the country has made significant strides in establishing a domestic hemp production program. The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) recently released its final rule, which has been long-awaited by the hemp community. Read below for a recap of recent progress as a reminder to continue putting forth effort and energy toward uniform cannabis legislation in the United States.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCA Recap of the Establishment of the United States Domestic Hemp Production Program
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The Final Rule: The USDA’s Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program

On January 19, 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) put forth a final rule to concretely establish a domestic hemp production program. This final rule becomes effective on March 22, 2021, and puts forth structured rules, regulations, and guidelines regarding the production of hemp nationwide. The USDA’s final rule is a provisional response to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill), which permitted states and tribal nations to participate in hemp production programs and removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s (CSA) definition of marijuana. Until the issuance of this final ruling, the USDA had previously only released an interim final rule, which was open to public comments and suggested revisions. Below, we break down the distinguishing and notable provisions the USDA incorporated into this new framework.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCThe Final Rule: The USDA’s Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program
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Understanding Texas’s Compassionate-Use Program

In 2015, the Texas Compassionate Use Act, Senate Bill 339, was enacted, requiring the Texas Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) to create a secure registry for qualified physicians to treat patients suffering from a limited list of medical conditions, such as ALS and intractable epilepsy, with low-THC cannabis. In 2019, the Texas Legislature expanded the Texas Compassionate Use Program (“TCUP”) via House Bill 3703 to include additional medical conditions, e.g., incurable neurodegenerative diseases, and physician specialties in which low-THC cannabis can be prescribed. Moreover, the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (“CURT”) has been updated in accordance with the expanded TCUP to allow for a simpler process for physicians to register and prescribe low-THC cannabis to their patients. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCUnderstanding Texas’s Compassionate-Use Program
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Will CBD Be Classified as a Dietary Supplement?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) currently prohibits cannabidiol (“CBD”) from being added to food, beverages, or cosmetics and from being sold as a dietary supplement. While we await further guidelines from the FDA, Congressmen Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Morgan Griffith of Virginia introduced on September 4, 2020, H.R. 8179, the “Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020”, which would allow hemp, CBD, and any other hemp-derived ingredient to be sold as dietary ingredients in dietary supplements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the “FD&C Act”).  

Ritter Spencer, PLLCWill CBD Be Classified as a Dietary Supplement?
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The Growing Market of Smokable Hemp and Its Legal Obstacles

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the “2018 Farm Bill”) established that hemp is to be treated similarly to other legal agricultural commodities and traded in standard interstate commerce as a raw material. However, the 2018 Farm Bill governs only state production programs and specifically permits states to enact more stringent regulations than those contained in the Bill. As a result, legal hemp has facilitated the emergence of a wide array of consumer products and uses. Specifically, smokable hemp has made a significant presence in the cannabis and hemp markets and continues to grow despite the increasing legality of other forms of cannabis that often include higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”). Below, we discuss the smokable hemp industry and the legal challenges it faces as it comes to fruition. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCThe Growing Market of Smokable Hemp and Its Legal Obstacles
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Ritter Spencer Files Lawsuit Challenging Smokable Hemp Bans in Texas

Yesterday, our office filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”) on behalf of our client, Crown Distributing LLC (“Crown”), challenging the smokable hemp bans in Texas. A copy of our filed Petition can be accessed here.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCRitter Spencer Files Lawsuit Challenging Smokable Hemp Bans in Texas
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What To Look For In A Hemp Lawyer

As the cannabis, hemp, and cannabidiol (CBD) industries continue to boom, legal cannabis businesses often find themselves in need of legal counsel. But how do you choose a hemp lawyer? The answer may depend on your specific situation. However, there are a few critical things to look for in a cannabis or hemp attorney. Below, we break down three key characteristics to help you identify an experienced hemp lawyer for all of your legal cannabis, hemp, or CBD needs. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCWhat To Look For In A Hemp Lawyer
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Marijuana Versus Hemp: Keeping Legalities Straight

As the legalization of cannabis and cannabis-related products continues to make progress, keeping legalities straight can be challenging. The rise of the cannabidiol (CBD) industry has also led to an abundance of misinformation online and in the media, making it harder for the average consumer to find the right answers to their questions. But cannabis, hemp, hemp derivatives, CBD, and marijuana continue to gain popularity, and it is important to fully understand what is legal and what is not. Below, we have put together a comparison between the legalities of marijuana and the legalities of hemp as a thorough examination and differentiation. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCMarijuana Versus Hemp: Keeping Legalities Straight
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Revised TDA Hemp Production Plan Part III: Violations, Hemp Transportation, and Hemp Seed Requirements

By: Paul Stevenson

After learning the application and hemp license holder requirements in Part I of this Series and the rules and procedures regarding the sampling and testing of hemp in Part II, it is now time to turn to the TDA plan’s provisions covering violations, license suspension and revocation, hemp transportation, and hemp seed requirements. 

As a hemp license holder, if you violate the TDA plan, it is imperative to comply with any enforcement action or corrective action plan imposed by the TDA in order to avoid any further negative consequences for you and/or your hemp operations.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCRevised TDA Hemp Production Plan Part III: Violations, Hemp Transportation, and Hemp Seed Requirements
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